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6th December 2017

How is your Christmas shopping going? Many retailers depend on the run-up to Christmas for 25% and more of their annual turnover. So, if we want to keep the independent shops that give Morpeth so much of its special character, we need to support them. Shop local! Make it a #localChristmas!

And are you looking forward to Christmas? Some aren’t…

Lots of people are stressed by a family Christmas or by money worries while many are dreading spending the holidays alone possibly for the first time. The Samaritans (01670 814222) are at their busiest at this time of year but they’ll always have someone to talk to 24/7.

Two or three churches and several care homes are organising Christmas Day meals for those who would otherwise be alone and don’t want to be.

If you aren’t really into a commercial Christmas, charities like Crisis and the Wansbeck Valley Food Bank – my Mayoral charity – can really use volunteers now and throughout the year. Why not get in touch?

Many people overspend as well as overeat at Christmas. If the cost of Christmas is going to leave you skint with credit card bills looming you won’t be alone. The CAB debt advisors and the credit unions always very busy at this time of year. And they also need volunteers – if you are looking for a New Year resolution or challenge.

Looking into the New Year – there are some significant proposals for Morpeth coming forward in the next couple of months:

NCC are promising consultations on both a draft Morpeth Masterplan and the new draft Northumberland Core Strategy within the first couple of months – and the Town Council will be looking closely at these.

The referendum on the proposed Morpeth Business Improvement District (BID) scheme is scheduled for early March and whichever way that goes will have major implications for the town.

And there are (now almost traditional) roadworks scheduled on Dark Lane, this time it is completion of the surface water flooding alleviation scheme.

On a lighter note – the annual show put on by the Morpeth Pantomime Society is at the end of January, while Northumberland Theatre Co are also bringing a pantomime to Morpeth (oh – yes they are!). And the Mayor’s Charity Civic Ball – highlight of the Morpeth social calendar (!) – is on 17th February, with tickets on sale now, and going fast!

Finally – you’ll have heard that Morpeth will be entered into the national “Britain in Bloom” competition in 2018? As part of our entry – we’ll be renewing the images on the Market Place planters. Following the success of the Mayoral Christmas Card competition, the Town Council is teaming up with Lateral Art again to run a competition – open to everyone – for new designs to go on the planters. Watch out for details very soon after Christmas!

And so, I wish Morpeth and all its residents a happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2018.